The Star-News

Murderer's driver heads to prison

Sat, Oct 30 2010 12:00 PM Posted By: Neal Putnam

A National City man who admitted he drove away a gang member following a stabbing has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact.

Probation was denied for Ernesto Alonzo Ceja, 22, who was fined $660 by Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Esteban Hernandez on Oct. 13. Ceja was given credit for spending 245 days in jail since his Feb. 11 arrest by National City police.

The man who stabbed the victim in the neck and torso, John Phillip Moreno III, 23, of National City, and Ceja were sentenced Aug. 30 to 15 years in prison and a $3,000 fine.

Moreno pleaded guilty to attempted murder and admitted he stabbed the victim.

The incident was gang-related, he said.

Moreno stabbed the victim in the 1800 block of 17th Street in National City on Feb. 8. The victim's name is being withheld because the district attorney's office said he had not recovered.

The victim was initially in critical condition and the prognosis was not good because he had major brain swelling and suffered loss of blood to the brain, said Deputy District Attorney David Grapilon.

The victim has difficulty speaking and is in physical rehabilitation.

The victim was visiting a friend who used to live in an apartment on 17th Street and the victim knew Moreno.

Grapilon said he was lured into the parking lot around 9 p.m. where he was stabbed.

Moreno was arrested by National City police on Feb. 14.

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